Kane sheriff plans database for tracking revoked FOID cards
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain says he hopes his office will have a database in place by March 1 to inform and track down people in unincorporated areas who have had their firearm owner's identification cards revoked.
"We want them to know they're on our radar," Hain said Monday.
Gary Martin, who shot and killed five co-workers at the Henry Pratt Co. plant in Aurora, had legally obtained a FOID card from Illinois State Police in January 2014, despite a felony conviction in the 1995 in Mississippi.
He bought the gun in March 2014, but authorities revoked his FOID card after they discovered his felony conviction when he applied for a concealed carry permit and was fingerprinted.
State police said they mailed a letter to the man on April 15, 2014, informing him his FOID card was revoked and ordering him to surrender it and any other guns he possessed.
In Illinois, a FOID card is needed for a person to possess a gun or ammunition. To receive one, a person must pass a state police background check to obtain a card, which is valid for 10 years.
State police said they revoked 10,818 FOID cards in 2018.
Hain said such revocations occur for a variety of reasons, including felony convictions, orders of protection or placement in a mental health institution.
Hain, who took over as sheriff in December 2018, said state police send the sheriff's office a letter when a FOID card is revoked, but his predecessor did not have deputies take action after that.
Now, Hain said his office will compile a database to track such cases in real time. After Hain's office is notified by the state police, the sheriff will send a letter to the resident, giving 45 days to turn in the FOID card to the sheriff's office.
The letter also will contain information on how to have the office store firearms at the sheriff's department until the resident gets the FOID card back or gives the gun or guns to a relative for safe keeping, Hain said.
"If we don't hear from them in 45 days, we will send a deputy to their door to make in-person contact," he said.
Hain said there's no crime if a person doesn't turn over the FOID card after it has been revoked, but possession of ammunition or guns without it is a misdemeanor offense.
If the person with an expired FOID card possesses a gun or guns but won't give them up, authorities can get a search warrant.
Hain's database would not have covered the gunman, who lived in Aurora, but he sees it as another step his office can take to reduce or prevent gun violence.
"You want to protect everybody. You want to shield everybody from danger," he said.
Meanwhile, under state law, an independent investigation must be held for any officer-involved shooting and a report must be reviewed by the local state's attorney.
The Kane County Major Crimes Task Force will handle the probe into Friday's officer-involved shooting and the Kane County state's attorney's office will review it. Officials said there's no time frame or deadline for the review to be completed.
The time for such reviews can vary depending on the complexity of each case.
For example, a 21-year-old Chicago man was shot and killed by a Kane County SWAT team in May 2017 after he took nurses hostage at Delnor Hospital. The Kane County state's attorney's office ruled in August 2018 that the shooting was justified.
On March 12, 2018, an Elgin police officer fatally shot Decynthia Clements, 34, on the Jane Addams Tollway and state police completed their preliminary review in August 2018.
The office of Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx is still reviewing that shooting.